If you happen upon Gray’s Papaya - you’ll know you’re at the right place if you find paper pineapples, strawberries, cherries, and bananas dangling from the ceiling like Chinese lanterns - I would encourage you to order the Recession Special: 2 franks and 1 drink for $4.95US. To find Gray's just follow the ethereal scent of grilled meat dispersed, perhaps deliberately, by the black metal fan which cools the busy store.
In New York, Gray’s Papaya is the ultimate value proposition: 99cent pizza slices, $1.95US franks, and the aforementioned Recession Special. Add a banana daiquiri, piña colada, coconut champagne or the revered papaya drink (an elixir made from the “aristocratic melon of the tropics” says the placard) and you have a full meal. The service is quick and snappy, the drinks foamy - like the Orange Julius days of my childhood - and the beef frankfurters simple and tasty and with a little crisp at the nib that surprises you at the end.
Gray’s is a welcome, salivation-inducing sight if you’re hungry, not-hungry (how I was tempted to eat one at 10:45a.m. is beyond me), or hangry (hungry + angry, as a consequence of the hunger) and after eating a few hot dogs the city, from the vantage of the small bar seats that face the street, looks just a little more pleasant.